The Corroad Goes Ever On and On: Goonhammer Open UK 2023

Last time I talked about the onset of 10th edition, my plans for the next 3 years of its presumed life, and my first 10th ed tournament at the Tacoma Open. That post was after 18 months or so of radio silence, so the fact I’ve managed to write another a mere six weeks later and immediately after a tournament, when it’s still vaguely relevant, is an unexpected blessing/curse [delete as applicable] for both regular readers.

Since July I have played another 10 games, via the surprise move of stirring myself to find and attend a local gaming club, plus playing at the recent Goonhammer Open UK. Meeting my commitment to play more of my armies in 10th than I ever did in 9th, I have broken out all of the Space Marines, Imperial Knights, and Aeldari over the last few weeks. Club-wise, that looks like:

  • Space Marines vs. Chaos Space Marines: In which Abbadon and his retinue were introduced to Aggressors under Bolter Discipline/Storm of Fire, with distressing results for the Traitors
  • Imperial Knights vs. Thousand Sons: In which Magnus the Red was introduced to Armiger Helverins and their ANTI-FLY 2+, with distressing results for the Traitor
  • Aeldari vs. Imperial Knights: In which an entire Knight army was introduced to prism cannons and heavy wraithcannons, with distressing results for the Knights
  • Space Marines vs. Adeptus Mechanicus: A much closer game than those preceding it, where Guilliman ate shit to an exploding Armiger Warglaive and I eventually slugged out a 90-85 win thanks to the Apothecary Biologis storming onto my opponent’s home objective with his OC9 activated to allow him to Capture Enemy Outpost

Getting regular games in again has been great fun, and given me opportunities to try different things out and get them on the table. I still need to play Drukhari in 10th to see how the index functions, and I’ll try and get them going soon – after that it gets a bit harder to vary things up because we’re into the realms of armies where I technically own 2,000pts+ but it’s very unbalanced or not all built/painted, so I’ll need to put some hobby work into them to get them on the table.

Painting-wise, my main focus has been on the build-up to the Goonhammer Open – at the beginning of August I had 2 Fire Prisms, a Wraithknight, and 5 Rangers in my list but unpainted. I need a bit of a run-up to an event these days if I’m going to have everything painted, so 2 vehicles, a Knight, and an infantry squad to do in a single month wasn’t ideal – it’s not that big of a hobby lift, but in my limited available time I am very easily distracted from what I “need” to paint vs. what I want to paint, especially when the need is Eldar vehicle hulls and Wraithknight gems, neither of which are super interesting. On the other hand, having a deadline to hold myself to would at least make me do it, whereas nothing in the four previous years I’d owned the thing had gotten me to get paint on the Wraithknight. I also had to do some surgery to swap his arms out (sword and shield off, heavy wraithcannons on – including an “enjoyable” hour one afternoon spent rooting around in a bitz box trying to find all the parts).

I’m sure the mere mention of the Wraithknight has one or both readers rolling their eyes already, and yes – my plan for the GHO was to take Aeldari. It’s an army I have a funny relationship with, as I talked about in my previous post – I’ve owned them for years, have slowly gotten this or that painted, but never really to a state where it was playable. At the very end of 9th I finally got them together and actually played them and enjoyed it a lot – and then saw the 10th index and sighed a bit. I’d expected them to be the thing I mained through early 10th, but I enjoy playing my Marines a lot more and I feel ok bringing them to a club night, whereas my sole Aeldari practice game was a one-off so I could at least put myself through a bit of live fire and get the timings of things right.

Wraithguard. Credit: Corrode

List-wise, I ran the following:

++ Aeldari for GHO - Click to Expand

Aeldari Nothin personnel kid (1990 points)
Strike Force (2000 points)
Battle Host


Autarch Wayleaper (80 points)
• Warlord
• 1x Howling Banshee Mask
1x Reaper launcher
1x Star glaive

Farseer Skyrunner (100 points)
• 1x Eldritch Storm
1x Shuriken pistol
1x Twin shuriken catapult
1x Witchblade
• Enhancement: The Phoenix Gem

Spiritseer (80 points)
• 1x Shuriken pistol
1x Witch staff
• Enhancement: Fate’s Messenger

The Yncarne (270 points)
• 1x Swirling soul energy
1x Vilith-zhar, the Sword of Souls


Fire Prism (150 points)
• 1x Prism cannon
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Fire Prism (150 points)
• 1x Prism cannon
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Fire Prism (150 points)
• 1x Prism cannon
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Night Spinner (170 points)
• 1x Doomweaver
1x Shuriken cannon
1x Wraithbone hull

Rangers (55 points)
• 5x Ranger
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Ranger long rifle
5x Shuriken pistol

Rangers (55 points)
• 5x Ranger
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Ranger long rifle
5x Shuriken pistol

Warp Spiders (100 points)
• 1x Warp Spider Exarch
• 1x Close combat weapon
1x Death spinner
1x Death spinner
1x Powerblades
• 4x Warp Spider
• 4x Close combat weapon
4x Death spinner

Wraithguard (155 points)
• 5x Wraithguard
• 5x Close combat weapon
5x Wraithcannon

Wraithknight (475 points)
• 1x Heavy wraithcannon
1x Heavy wraithcannon
2x Starcannon
1x Titanic feet

Only the one Wraithknight (I only own 1) and 5 Wraithguard (I only own 5) – a lot of this is shaped by what I already had ready, or at least had built/primed and could quickly get ready. This is the infamous production meta. With my sole practice game under my belt, I set off to Leicester to play some Warhammer. This proved to be a bad idea, because with rail strikes on the Friday the entire road network was choked to death, and a drive that can be done in 2 hours flat turned into more like 3h 15. Google Maps then added a full half hour of additional driving by being absolutely insistent that the entrance to the venue car park was 200m further up the road than it actually was, which was just far enough to send me all the way back around the one-way system to try and find it again; I ended up having to do the loop twice because after missing it once I carefully checked the location again, started up the directions, and arrived exactly back in the (incorrect) location I’d started from. On further analysis it turned out that Maps wanted me to get out and walk from there, suggesting that the algorithm is missing some understanding of why you would want driving directions to a car park. At least I wasn’t coming from Brighton like some other attendees, who took a full 7 hours to get up country.

Once I’d finally defeated the idiot robot in my phone, I made my way into the venue to catch the tail-end of set-up. I was mostly showing up to this one as a player rather than an organiser, but I am a Goonhammer director and this was a Goonhammer event, so I was on hand to do organisational things too. On Friday this mostly involved doing a puzzle (setting up the campaign map for the Horus Heresy narrative) and collecting pizzas, which is my kind of manual labour, frankly. Dough What in the centre of Leicester not only do pizzas that cater to all of the varied dietary needs of the Goonhammer crew, they also willingly took an order for 16 shortly before closing, which was highly appreciated.

With tables ready (significantly accelerated by the venue staff setting up the physical tables for us, ready for mats and terrain to be added) and pizza consumed, the only thing left to do was get back to the Airbnb a handful of us were sharing. On the drive up, I’d planned to get an early night and be ready for the morning; naturally I stayed up talking about Warhammer with James and Bair until much later than planned and got an awful night’s sleep.

Day 1’s games looked like:

  • Game 1 – Dawud – Astra Militarum: 99-31 win
  • Game 2 – Ben – Tyranids: 100-43 win
  • Game 3 – Daniel – Aeldari: 61-100 loss

Basically, for games 1 and 2 I got to do Aeldari things to other people, and in game 3 I had Aeldari things done to me by a better player (Dan would end up in the final, losing by a single point to overall winner Chris) with a better list. Beyond the raw power of the army, the other thing that became quickly apparent from these games is how much of playing Aeldari is about telling your opponent no – particularly in the game against Ben I felt like most of my interactions were him telling me he was going to try and do something and me saying “I’ll just Overwatch/Phantasm” and him sighing and trying to think of another plan. More than anything else, it’s the non-interactivity of the army that I hope is fixed in the upcoming Balance Dataslate – and put a pin in that for when I come back to game 5.

Saturday lunch was from Zoka – a gigantic helping of katsu tofu – and Saturday night’s dinner was at Herb, a restaurant which Lenoon was absolutely insistent on and had planned out months in advance. We booked a table of 14 and showed up with 18, which they took in their stride – it turned out they had another separate dining room on site, and to get us out of everyone else’s way they stuck us in there. This is what you call a result, especially once food started coming out and it turned out to be fucking amazing. There’s a lot of good Indian food in the UK, and this was some of the best I’ve ever had – since they’re very keen to put it across, I feel like I should emphasise that it’s specifically Keralan food, if you’re of a discerning nature about regional specialties. My main (a slim thali) was good and varied, but I had a madhura kizhangu varattiyathu as a starter and I think I could safely eat that for the rest of my life and not get bored. Utterly divine.

The biggest challenge of the day was standing up after two extremely substantial meals, but I just about made it back to bed where I had a truly terrible night’s sleep – for some reason I kept unconsciously propping myself up on one more pillow than I needed, and woke up tired and with horrendous neck pain. I’ve never felt so fucking old – this is Rob Jones-level physical breakdown at an event. Facing me once I dragged myself into the hall was Philip and his Revenant Titan.

Day 2’s games were:

  • Game 4 – Philip – Aeldari: 82-58 win
  • Game 5 – Charles – Chaos Daemons: 80-45 win
  • Game 6 – Alex – Thousand Sons: 46-49 loss

All of my games on the Sunday were some variety of stupid. I don’t mean this to denigrate my opponents or the results, but all three involved something ridiculous happening.

Let’s start with the aforementioned Revenant Titan. I knew this was in the hall because it was on stream for game 2, after Philip beat a double Wraithknight list with it, so I had a healthy respect for what it could do to me. In our game he went first, got line of sight on all three Fire Prisms, and got a bit greedy and didn’t kill any of them (I’d strat reserved the Wraithknight to avoid it eating shit immediately in this exact situation). Great stuff, now I can swing back – which I do and grind it down to 11 wounds. That is more than 0 wounds, and it’s in mid-table with a lot of my stuff engaged with it and exposed to its shooting. He kills two Fire Prisms this time, which allows his Yncarne to pop into my back line and have a go at assassinating my Farseer. Daniel pulled this off in my previous game and then the ‘seer rolled a 1 for the Phoenix Gem, so you’d think I’d have learned some kind of lesson about leaving it exposed, but alas, I am very stupid. Luckily Philip was less fortunate, and the Farseer lived, died, and lived again. I then got the luckiest break of all time – I moved my Wraithguard to shoot the Revenant, and he overwatched, with the reasonably sound logic that he’d likely pick up 2-4 of them. I rolled an absolute fistful of saves and he killed only 1, and the other 4 immediately took vengeance and shot back to kill the titan in my Movement phase. This was the worst possible situation for him, since my arriving Wraithknight was now free to shoot at his Yncarne, and with only 900pts of non-Revenant stuff in his army and me having line of sight to most of it I was able to reap a terrible toll and quickly put the game to bed. I was a bit worried about points when this initially happened – he was up, at one point, 42-19 – but was able to drag it back.

That’s one lucky escape down – now for Charles. Charles was rolling with Be’lakor and 4 Greater Daemons (Kairos, Shalaxi, a Keeper, and a Lord of Change), which is the kind of list where a lot can swing on whether they pass saves at the right time or not. He pulled off an excellent early game redeploy to stick Be’lakor and Shalaxi in my backfield, and it looked like I was in real trouble. Then he moved Shalaxi in his next turn and my Wraithknight did 24 wounds to her in Overwatch. That didn’t quite kill her things to her FNP, but she didn’t live long afterwards. With the situation now looking a bit desperate, he moved up a Keeper to try and take down my heavily wounded Wraithknight – and it flourished another half-dozen natural sixes on Overwatch and put 25 wounds on her, killing her outright. 49 wounds from Overwatch thanks to rolling a fistful of 6s at the right time – I didn’t even really need the Fate dice to help, since Charles kindly failed all the saves he was required to roll. Charles, incidentally, ended up being voted Best Opponent for the weekend, and it’s a good reflection on him – he was a pleasure to play against, and took this very stupid and unfair thing happening to him like an absolute champ. He also gave me a business card for his YouTube channel, in a real business card holder and everything, which rather put me to shame. You should check it out.

With 4 wins and 1 loss, it was off to table 4 for me to face off against Alex and his Thousand Sons. The stupid thing here was not so much any particular event in the game as it was the game itself – I don’t know how many 10th edition games finish with neither player scoring 50+ points, but it can’t be many. Lots of things died, lots of stuff happened, and neither of us managed to achieve much by way of scoring. On my part, I think the key mistake was in being careless with my mobile units, and with secondaries – for no reason I can understand I held on to Area Denial for 3 full turns before discarding it, without much plan for how I would score it, and I’d deployed one unit of Rangers ready to move onto an objective for an early Cleanse or similar without really thinking about it and found they were too far away to actually achieve that when I inevitably drew the card on turn 1. For his part, Alex committed the classic error of teleporting his Scarab Occult brick into a far distant corner for a satisfying but not especially useful kill on the Yncarne, and then they spent the rest of the game being Night Spinnered and moving a princely 3″ per turn.

That was that, and I finished 4-2 with a WWLWWL record, to slide into 12th place. My failure did at least make the event meta slightly less hostile – of the 7 players 5-1 or better, 5 were Aeldari, 1 was Thousand Sons, and 1 was Tyranids. Strong, but not dominant.

Farseer Skyrunner. Credit: Corrode

With the games over, all that was left was breaking down tables (and many thanks to all of our volunteers and attendees who helped with that) and to do prizegiving. You can check them all out on yesterday’s post, where I fulfiled the vital role of handing them out and smiling in the photos – something we need to fix for next time is that Scott used me to frame the shot, but that meant I am dead centre in most of the photos, so it looks like I’ve won an absolute ton of prizes while the real winners are shuffled off to one side. I can assure all concerned that I did not turn up to my own event and win anything, except the hearts and minds of the public.

No food report worth the name on Sunday – I staggered to Tesco for lunch seeking paracetemol, which did at least mean I felt better for the afternoon, and then skipped dinner. The weekend did end on quite a sour note, however; it turned out that although the Airbnb was booked until Monday, everyone else staying there was leaving on Sunday night. It was just about early enough that I could reasonably be home before midnight, so I decided to just drive rather than stay in the house now rendered somewhat creepy by its emptiness. The drive was long but uneventful; I got home, parked in the road, unpacked my car, and went indoors. 20 minutes later I was just about to go to sleep when a drunk driver hit my parked car at high speed and wrote it off. The stupid cunt was lucky to stumble away mostly unharmed, into the waiting arms of the police who were already out looking for him. For the sake of mental peace I am choosing to look at this through the lens that “car hit by drunken twat” can end much worse than just having to buy a new car.

Excepting that last bit, this was a fantastic weekend, full of great games, great food, and time spent with friends new and old. Thanks to the ease of using our new venue, and our terrain now being stored locally (and a shout out to the two middle aged blokes sat drinking beers outside of our storage unit as we were loading the terrain back into it – I hope you got your mixed grill), we’ll be back next year with more Goonhammers Open than ever before; watch this space for announcements around that and I hope you’ll join us.

Next up for me is the London GT, an event I have attended 5 times and only actually finished once. Perhaps this year will be the combo-breaker. With a dataslate imminent, I’ll figure out what I’m taking later this month; fingers crossed for Aeldari to be staked through the heart.